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BISHKEK (TCA) — The 2nd meeting of the India-Central Asia Dialogue was held in the digital video-conference format on October 28, under the chairmanship of the External Affairs Minister of India. Foreign Ministers of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan as well as First Deputy Foreign Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic participated in the meeting. Acting Foreign Minister of Afghanistan attended the meeting as a special invitee, India’s Ministry of External Affairs reported.

The Ministers highly assessed the 1st meeting of the India-Central Asia Dialogue held on 13 January 2019 in Samarkand (Uzbekistan) in establishing a platform for strengthening cooperation between India and the Central Asian countries in political, security, economic and commercial, development partnership, humanitarian and cultural spheres as well as exchanging views on regional and international issues of mutual interest. They called for building a comprehensive and enduring India-Central Asia partnership on the basis of their historical, cultural and civilizational bonds as well as traditionally close people-to-people contacts, said the Joint Statement of the 2nd meeting of the India-Central Asia Dialogue.

The Ministers of the Central Asian countries welcomed the provision by India of US$ 1 billion Line of Credit for priority development projects in fields such as connectivity, energy, IT, healthcare, education, and agriculture. They also welcomed India’s offer to provide grant assistance for implementation of High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDP) for furthering socio-economic development in the countries of the region.

The Ministers emphasized the importance of concerted efforts to further expand trade and economic cooperation including promoting direct ties between the businesses of India and the Central Asian countries, the joint statement said. In this context, the Ministers welcomed the launch of the India-Central Asia Business Council (ICABC) in New Delhi on 6 February 2020, comprising the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Chamber of International Commerce of Kazakhstan, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Tajikistan, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Turkmenistan, and the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan.

The Ministers emphasized that as a B2B body under the India-Central Asia Dialogue, ICABC should promote business linkages, facilitate greater understanding of taxation, business regulations in India and the Central Asian countries and incentivize trade, business and investment, especially in the area of Small and Medium Enterprises.

The Ministers emphasized the importance of connectivity for increasing trade and commerce as well as people-to-people contacts between India and the Central Asian countries, the joint statement said. The Ministers expressed their continued interest in further developing the transit and transport potential of their countries, improving the logistics network of the region and promoting joint initiatives to create regional and international transport corridors. In this regard, the Ministers of the Central Asian countries appreciated India’s efforts to modernize the infrastructure of the Chabahar port in Iran, which could become an important link in trade and transport communications between the markets of Central and South Asia.

The Ministers welcomed the participation of Afghanistan in the India- Central Asia Dialogue. They called for the settlement of the Afghan conflict on the principle of Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled peace process. The Ministers expressed their interest in strengthening cooperation for the development and economic reconstruction of Afghanistan, including through the implementation of infrastructure, energy, transit and transport projects.

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